Posted August 8, 2012 | comments 10 Comments

Letter to the Editor: Law is confusing


I am confused. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (United States code: Title 18, Chapter 1, crimes, and Title 10, Chapter 22, Uniform Code of Military Justice) is a United States law which recognizes a "child in utero" as a "member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development who is carried in the womb."

The act also explicitly contains a provision exempting abortion, stating that the legislation would not be construed to permit the prosecution "of any person relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by the law to act on her behalf," or "any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman with respect to her unborn child."

I think Sen. John Kerry said it well, "I have serious concerns about this legislation because the law cannot simultaneously provide that the fetus is a human being and protect the right of the mother to choose to terminate her pregnancy."

So, I am confused. As I understand this legislation, an unborn child - at any stage of development (by legal definition ) - is a living human being until it he/she becomes a right.

Scott Peterson is convicted of second-degree murder for killing his unborn child and first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Laci Peterson, but a doctor performing an abortion is not accused of killing a child.

This must mean a mother is not a caretaker, or a helper of her "child in utero," rather, she is the complete owner of it - like a chair or a piece of jewelry - to do with it as she pleases. She can sell it, give it away, or destroy it. The big difference is that a heartbeat makes the "child in utero" work, not batteries.

How sad it is that such a blatant double standard not only exists in this country, but is applauded. How much more sad it is when our moral compasses can't distinguish between the two.

Ken Francis, Front Royal

10 Comments | Leave a comment

    I do not see the law as confusing. The law applies when someone OTHER than the woman pregnant decides for her she should not the "child in utero", or most commonly that she should die as well as said "child in utero"

    In criminal terms, it is no different than if you walk in the garage and cut your hand of with a saw, you would not be charged as it is YOUR body. But if I cut your hand off without your permission, I will be charged.

    "How sad it is that such a blatant double standard not only exists in this country, but is applauded. How much more sad it is when our moral compasses can't distinguish between the two." ???

    Kind of like asking the government to protect your belief system....while at the same time demanding the government enforce your beliefs on everyone else? Like a Catholic hospital demanding exemption from providing contraceptive coverage for its employees based on it trampling on the owners religious beliefs, while at the same time the owners are not respecting and trampling the religious beliefs of their employees? Why yes, that IS a double standard.

    Katy, I really think you missed his point. One law says it is a child and if somebody does it harm, they can be charged for harming it. The other law says somebody (the mother) can kill it because it is not a child until it reaches some arbitrary point in it's gestation. It is either a child or it is not. It is hypocrisy at it's finest.

      No, I didn't. The concern when this law came about was that pro-life advocates would attempt, just like in this letter to use it as legal standing for taking a woman's choice away. The writing of this law was NEVER intended for the abortion debate.

      It was intended to provide a legal consequence for taking the choice away from mothers who had chosen to give birth. Sitting in both floors of congress during the debates of this law was a poster of a woman who lost her child during an assault while she was 9 months pregnant. That is the situation the law was designed for.

      Much like the Roe vs Wade decision protects a woman's right to make the decision whether or not she should have a child, this particular law protects those women who do decide to give birth. Which is why repeated attempts to use the law as legal grounds for taking choice away from mothers fail. It is protection from outside interference, not woman's choice.

    The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UMCJ) only applies to active and retired military....so what's your point?

    First of all please let me assure you that I am not an advocate for abortions; that said, I do believe in a woman's right to do with her own body as she chooses. God is her judge, not the people of this the world...also true with LGBTs.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that each year nearly 42 million women faced with unintended pregnancies have abortions, of which 20 million are unsafe, mostly in countries where abortion is illegal. According to WHO and Guttmacher, approximately 68,000 women die annually as a result of complications of unsafe abortion; and between two million and seven million women each year survive unsafe abortion but sustain long-term damage or disease (incomplete abortion, infection (sepsis), haemorrhage, and injury to the internal organs, such as puncturing or tearing of the uterus). Unsafe abortion is 1/270; according to other sources, unsafe abortion is responsible for one in eight maternal deaths.

    Does anyone truly believe they will stop abortions worldwide by labeling the act criminal? Only a naif would.

    Nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to unwed mothers under 30. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data. Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty , failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.

    By the mid-1990s, a third of Americans were born outside marriage. Congress, largely blaming welfare, imposed tough restrictions. Now the figure is 41 percent — and 53 percent for children born to women under 30 (73 percent of black children are born outside marriage, 53 percent of Latinos, and 29 percent of whites). And educational differences are growing. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends.

    Reviewing the academic literature, Susan L. Brown of Bowling Green State University recently found that children born to married couples, on average, “experience better education, social, cognitive and behavioral outcomes.” (Well, doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion, does it?)

    Another key difference in behavior, Regnerus reports, is that evangelical Protestant teen-agers are significantly less likely than other groups to use contraception. Nationwide, according to a 2001 estimate, some two and a half million people have taken a pledge to remain celibate until marriage. More than half of those who take such pledges—which, unlike abstinence-only classes in public schools, are explicitly Christian—end up having sex before marriage, and not usually with their future spouse....according to the sociologists Peter Bearman, of Columbia University, and Hannah Brückner, of Yale, communities with high rates of pledging also have high rates of S.T.D.s.

    World education ranking: which country does best at reading, maths and science?

    The politicians LOVE for their constituents to be preoccupied with debating the woes of the society; i.e., LGBT rights, abortions, welfare, guns, birth certificates, etc., hoping that we will ignore the real culprit in our society, i.e., decline in our educational system -- the route to all evil.

      Excellent reasoning. Unfortunately too many people are more concerned about the fetus than they are the fully developed child.

      The Republican party LOVES to whip up the masses with anything to divert from the real issues. Yes, the decline of our educational system is a great example of how they are destroying our children.

      It reminds me of the billions of dollars wasted trying to get a peak at the surface of Mars when our own bloody planet is on the brink of destruction. There are far too many things that are wrong in our society and world.

      Better focus of what these "fats cats" are really up to and hold them accountable for the sorry state of this union. Sadly we can't right all wrongs, but this abortion issue must be a woman's decision.

        "more concerned about the fetus than they are the fully developed child."

        You are ABSOLUTELY right, Diane; case in point.....

        HEADLINE(S): VA Governor Signs Executive Order to Implement Congenital Heart Disease Screening Legislation (Jun 29, 2012)

        (WOW! He is great, right? RIGHT?)

        "The legislation was passed unanimously by the Virginia House and Senate and was supported throughout the state by health care providers and patient advocacy organizations, including the ACC's Virginia Chapter and the Virginia chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, before it was VETOED. According to the ACC's Virginia Chapter President Rober Shor, MD, FACC, Gov. McDonnell explained that he vetoed the bill in order to avoid increasing the size of government in perpetuity. Shor expressed disappointment with McDonnell's initial decision, saying it was a missed opportunity to help protect Virginia infants and had the potential to negatively impact Virginia receiving a federal grant of $1 million that would help address this issue.
        After the veto announcement, Shor stressed that an Executive Order could fulfill the same objective as the bill by creating an optimal path toward universal screening of newborns for congenital heart disease. "An Executive Order would put the congenital heart disease screening policy in place without creating any new government bodies or increasing the size of government," he said. 'Additionally, the bill does not have a fiscal impact on the state’s budget'."

        And, man, the positive press play he received for that one!!!!!

        However, he had little difficulty signing this one:
        March 7, 2012, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell on Wednesday signed into law a controversial bill requiring Virginia women to undergo an ultrasound procedure prior to having an abortion.

          Control and power is the name of the game. McDonnell is licking his chops to be Romney's V.P. choice so he will say and do anything that makes that possible.

          These people couldn't care less what happens to anyone outside of their money circle. They milked the "family values" slogan as long as they could so now anything is up for grabs.

          As long as we are a nation where money buys everything and (almost) everyone, candidates will never get serious about helping the average American much less care about the true welfare of this nation's children.

          Keeping everyone divided and off the real issues has worked for this party before: using emotional topics such as abortion is a favorite. Allow these hypocrites back in the White House and your child's health may suffer more than you could ever imagine.

          I've seen what these hellish diseases can do. No one should lose their life savings in order to have medical treatment. And the politicians who make the rules for us should live by those rules as well.

    Well said, Diana! As an aside, did you hear about the Kansas doctor who is facing loosing her medical license because she refused to force a ten year old mentally challenged girl to have her Uncle's baby? Here is the link http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/09/kansas-doctor-under-attack-for-not-forcing-ten-year-old-rape-victim-to-give-birth/

    Bless her heart!

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